The Short List: Favorite performances from Bumbershoots past
Bumbershoot 2013 takes place at Seattle Center Aug. 31-Sept. 2; here are some of our favorite performances from years past. For this year’s Bumbershoot schedule and ticket info, go to bumbershoot.org.
Ben Harper, Sharon Jones
My greatest thrills at Bumbershoot have been discovering someone mighty special — before most of America does. When a little-known Ben Harper appeared solo in the 1990s, his rough-hewn voice and heartfelt original songs were captivating, and surely destined for a wide audience. And though I knew her band the Dap Kings from their work on Amy Winehouse recordings, I was not prepared for the soul cyclone that is Ms. Sharon Jones. Lord have mercy, that woman cooked in her 2012 show! It was as if James Brown had been reborn a righteous woman, who could turn “This Land is Your Land” into lusty R&B. Later I learned they’re both from Augusta, Ga. — there must be something in the water.
Misha Berson, Seattle Times arts writer
The confessionary monologist was one of a parade of arts-world heavy-hitters who visited Bumbershoot around the turn of the millennium. His 2001 festival appearance — which came months after he was severely injured in a car crash in Ireland — was marked by his signature humor and pathos. Three years later, still struggling with the aftermath of the accident, he took his own life.
Lynn Jacobson, Seattle Times features editor
Trey McIntyre Project
The Boise-based dance troupe offered a knockout double bill in 2011, with “Oh, Inverted World” (set to tunes by the Shins) and “The Sweeter End” (set to music by New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band). The opening of “Sweeter End” was especially powerful, as it matched the funereal thump of “St. James Infirmary” with sharp, almost brutal snaps of movement, pushing the dirge to ecstatic heights. Sadly, there’s no modern dance in this year’s festival lineup.
Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts writer